Updated: Jul 30
Today’s lesson will be about the double consonant! That’s right, we’ve moved on from the compound vowels and onto the double consonants. I know, there are so many different things to 한글, compared to Spanish or French or Italian. That’s because these languages all stem from the same Latin root, but 한글 is a much different language.
It stems from a northern Asian language called Altaic, which has roots in Mongolian, Turkish and Japanese, and of course takes its inspiration from Chinese too. That’s why it’s both easy and pretty difficult to learn. It’s easy, because its alphabet doesn’t involve too much, it’s only 2 letters short of the English one, and instead of having each letter side by side, it’s arranged into blocks. That’s why there are so many syllables you can make with it, and that includes double consonants.
Now, I’m not too sure what you guys remember, so let’s do a quick recap, shall we?
What Do You Remember?
Ok, so, we learned that 한글 has 14 standard consonants and 10 standard vowels. The 10 standard vowels are ㅓ ㅏ ㅗ ㅜ ㅡ ㅣ ㅕ ㅑ ㅠ and ㅜ, and the 14 standard consonants are ㄱ ㄷ ㄴ ㅂ ㅅ ㅈ ㅁ ㅎ ㄹ ㅍ ㅊ ㅌ ㅋ and ㅇ. If you don’t recognise some of the consonants, whoops! That’s my fault. I’d forgotten to include them in the previous post about consonants. The reason why was because I was going to do a separate post about them, but we’ll cover them here quickly.
So, you already know what ㄱ ㄷ ㄴ ㅂ ㅅ ㅈ ㅁ ㅎ ㄹ and ㅇ are, but ㅍ ㅊ ㅌ and ㅋ are rather strange to you right? Well, they’re basically the same pronunciation as their sister consonants, ㄱ ㄷ ㅂ and ㅈ, but they are much more set than them. So, ㅍ is pronounced “p”, ㅊ is pronounced “ch”, ㅌ is pronounced “t”, and ㅋ is pronounced “k”. These pronunciations are set, so whenever you see these letters, you don’t need to determine what they sound like, like their sister consonants, because you’ll already know.
Anyway, back to the recap, you also know the other compound vowels that I taught you, in my last lesson, ㅐ ㅔ ㅒ ㅖ 의 위 외 워 와 왜 and 웨, and the reason they’re compound vowels, at least in my terms, is because they’re mostly like syllables, and can be broken down into separate vowels.
Are you with me so far?
Ok. Now, since we remember, let’s move on a step further. Double Consonants.
This Is Where You See Double
Alright, so what am I talking about? Well, you’ve probably looked at your song lyrics, the one that I asked you to take a look at, in my first lesson. The one where you’re trying to pick out the consonants and the vowels that you recognise. Well, you’ve probably seen syllables like these:
까, 따, 짜, 빠, 싸
These are the double consonants, and you can probably tell which ones they’re doubles of. When you see these doubles, how do you pronounce them? Do you go “k-k” or “d-d”? No. Actually, it’s just a stressor on the consonant itself. So, ㅃ doesn’t mean “p-p”, it means “p” but stressed, so pinch your lips together and burst the “p”. It sounds a little harder than the regular “p” we do, like in “please”.
Think of it like this. When you’re talking to someone, and they say something you find it so unbelievable you don’t say “please”, you say “puh-lease” right? It’s that sort of sound you need to make. It’s a similar thing with the other doubles. Instead of a regular “g” or “k” sound for ㄲ you’re saying “k” but with a lot of stress on the “kick” of the “k”, and with the ㅉ, you’re saying “j” but with a little more stress and elongation, like in “John”.
Do you see what I mean? Korean is both easy to learn, but also difficult at the same time. While, in theory, it sounds and looks easy, but in practical terms, it’s pretty hard, especially when you go to the different regions of Korea, and you speak to their locals. The dialect can be very difficult, when you’re trying to pick out the right words to say, or when you’re listening to them, they might not make sense to you either.
It’s like being in a different English-speaking country, you know what they’re saying, can pick out the standard words, but when it comes to slang and their version of a word, you get lost. So, if you’re in the UK, everyone knows what the Queen’s English is like, it’s polite, standard, and you can understand every word, but go somewhere north, like Liverpool. I guarantee you, some of you might not understand half the things they’re saying, since most of it is in their slang terms.
Alright, so we’ve finally covered the basic alphabet, next is the fun part! Making syllables! There are so many ways you can block these letters together, as you’ve already seen. The simplest is putting a consonant and a vowel together, but that’s not the only way! Not to mention, there are a few silent endings, and changes in pronunciation, when certain consonants and vowels are put together! That’s going to be fun!
In the meantime, I have homework! Go and check out those lyrics again, and see if you can write out the 한글 into Romanised letters. When you’ve done that, try saying them out loud. Now I don’t want any of you to cheat! Don’t use lyrics that are already translated! Translate them yourself! If you do, you’ll get a better idea of how to say those letters, especially, if you’re listening along to the songs. Well, that’s it from me today! I’ll see you guys next time!